Nintendo receives second workplace complaint in 5 months

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Credit: Nintendo

The National Labor Relations Board has received a second workplace complaint against Nintendo and a contracting firm it uses in its main office in the United States.

This is the second time this year that Nintendo has received such a complaint, with attention being drawn to workplace conditions in the gaming industry. The complaint was filed earlier this week (August 8) and alleges that Nintendo, alongside its contracting firm Aston Carter, established “coercive rules”. It further stated that the companies retaliated against, disciplined or dismissed employees for engaging in “protected activity” with others.

Allegations such as these could include workers saying they are unable to freely talk about working conditions or discuss forming a union, although the specific details of this complaint are vague.

It comes after the first complaint in April, which saw a gaming contractor allege their employment had been terminated after asking about unionisation within a company meeting. At the time, Nintendo denied the allegations put forward in the complaint, and said the employee was dismissed following a leak of “confidential information”. Nintendo further stipulated that it was not aware of any unionisation attempts.

Following the initial complaint, workers began speaking to media outlets about their working conditions (via, Axios), saying “I loved what I did. I hated how I was treated”, and that they “expected better” of such a huge gaming company.

Employees in the gaming industry have been speaking out about unacceptable working hours, low pay and generally negative working conditions. Recently, some have begun to form unions to address their situations, with Activision Blizzard’s Albany location being the latest to put in a bid.

In terms of what’s next for Nintendo and its two complaints, it could be some time before the board determines whether sufficient evidence exists to uphold the complaints, at which time either a hearing or settlement will take place.

In other news, Twitch streamer Keffals has been the victim of a transphobic swatting attempt, and is now reaching out for help and support.

Some within HYBE thought NewJeans’ concept was “plain” and lacked “public appeal”, says ADOR label CEO

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NewJeans. Credit: ADOR / HYBE

The CEO of the label ADOR, which launched the K-pop group NewJeans this month, has revealed the girl group’s atypical concept was met with some skepticism within the label’s parent company HYBE.

CEO Min Hee-jin recently sat for an interview with South Korean outlet Korea JoongAng Dailywhere she talked about producing rookie girl group NewJeans and their atypical launch, which broke from industry conventions. For instance, instead of following the usual route of unveiling members, dropping teasers then releasing a music video, NewJeans were introduced via a music video that also announced their group name – well before any information was shared on the group’s members.

Min also acknowledged that that music she “chose” for NewJeans, ADOR’s first artist, “was not the conventional K-pop idol style”. “I felt like I had been tacitly forced to follow the formula of how to produce K-pop hits,” she said. “It was taken for granted, so I felt a bit rebellious and wanted to break that formula.”

According to Min, not everyone within HYBE – the parent company of ADOR that has other subsidiaries in BTS and Tomorrow X Together label Big Hit Music and SEVENTEEN label Pledis – shared her confidence in NewJeans’ concept.

“Interestingly, within HYBE, I was told [my concept for NewJeans] was ‘plain’ or ‘the type that doesn’t have public appeal’,” she claimed. “Some people were convinced that it was unlikely to be a hit because it doesn’t follow the conventional ‘K-pop idol grammar’.”

Min said she went ahead with the direction she had planned out for NewJeans regardless. “But I didn’t care. I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do, and I was confident with the music I chose. The more I heard skeptical comments like that, it just made me want to showcase [NewJeans] sooner.”

Min also revealed that the next NewJeans project was planned “even before [their] debut”. “I envision NewJeans as a truly ‘whimsical’ group – not whimsical just for the sake of being quirky, but trying out what hasn’t been done in K-pop even though it should have been,” she said. “The members are ready to go on an adventure with me… If things go as planned, [their next release] will also be a very whimsical album.”

In other NewJeans news, ADOR shared a statement yesterday (August 10) announcing plans to take legal action against perpetrators of “malicious activities” against the girl group.

“We will initiate legal proceedings based on evidence submitted by our fans as well as collected through our internal monitoring efforts, and no settlements or leniency will be extended to the perpetrators of such activities,” said ADOR.

David Goldfarb says going open world “fucked” ‘Darkborn’

A creature from Darkborn
Darkborn's creature. Credit: The Outsiders

Darkborn lead David Goldfarb has shared that the cancelled first-person Viking game was “fucked” due to it becoming open world.

Speaking to NME, Goldfarb said that Darkbornwhich was cancelled by The Outsiders in 2020 – suffered some major issues in the development cycle, including a big change to the game’s structure.

“It didn’t start as an open world game,” shared Goldfarb. “It became one, and that’s why we got fucked. If we had done it another way, maybe we would have been okay.”

Goldfarb added that Darkborn was cancelled due to publisher Take Two deciding to part with The Outsiders, which “couldn’t get anyone to pay what it would have cost to continue, because of a lot of complicated legality around IP ownership and the publishing rights to the game.”

“A lot of people think we made this decision to abandon that project. That’s not true, okay. We really wanted to make that game,” added Goldfarb.

David Goldfarb
Credit: Dan Kendall for NME

Beyond publishing issues, Goldfarb said the team “never really cracked” first-person melee combat, and described it as “probably the hardest thing in the industry.”

When The Outsiders announced Darkborn‘s cancellation, it said that it was “working on something else”. This turned out to be Goldfarb’s next game, Metal: Hellsinger, which was announced two months after Darkborn was cancelled.

Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm-based shooter that tasks players with killing demons to the beat of metal, with a soundtrack that features the likes of Trivium‘s Matt Heafy, System of a Down‘s Serj Tankian, and more.

NME recently got to preview Metal: Hellsinger, and said “riddling wretches to ribbons has never felt more mosh-worthy.”

In other gaming news, Twitch streamer Clara ‘Keffals’ Sorrenti has been swatted as part of a long-running campaign of transphobic harassment against her.

Johnny Depp is King Louis XV in first-look at ‘Jeanne du Barry’

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Johnny Depp as King Louis XV in 'Jeanne du Barry' CREDIT: Why Not Productions

A first picture has been released of Johnny Depp as the controversial King Louis XV from upcoming historical romance drama, Jeanne du Barry.

Directed by French filmmaker Maïwenn, who also stars in the title role, the film follows the life of Jeanne du Barry, the last royal mistress of King Louis XV who climbed the social hierarchy from her working-class roots to become the king’s lover.

Alongside Depp and Maïwenn, the cast includes Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud, Noemie Lvovsky, Pascal Greggory and India Hair.

Filming on Jeanne du Barry began at the end of July in Paris and the Île-de-France region, after Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard concluded in June, according to Deadline.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp CREDIT: Cliff Owen/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images

From that trial, Depp was awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2million for her counterclaim against Depp. In July, Heard filed an official notice to appeal the outcome.

This marks Depp’s first major acting role since 2020’s Minamata, where he played war photographer W. Eugene Smith.

Depp was previously forced to leave Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts in 2020 after he lost his libel case against The Sun newspaper, which had described him as a “wife beater”.

Recently, the actor earned over £3million after selling his debut art collection, which featured celebrity portraits of Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Taylor and Al Pacino.

Jeanne du Barry is scheduled to be released on Netflix France following its theatrical release, with a release date yet to be announced.

Twitch streamer Clara ‘Keffals’ Sorrenti raided by armed police in transphobic swatting

Credit: Clara keffals Sorrenti twitch streamer
Credit: Clara Sorrenti

Twitch streamer Clara ‘Keffals’ Sorrenti woke up on August 5 to armed police raiding her home, pointing an “assault rifle” in her face. It follows a campaign of harassment she has experienced whilst streaming on Twitch, and she has now pleaded for help.

In a video posted to her YouTube channel (via PC Gamer), Sorrenti detailed a harrowing experience with London (Ontario, Canada) police, where they raided her home, armed, after “every city councilor in the city of Ontario” received an email stating that she possesses an illegal weapon, had killed her mother, and planned to go to City Hall and shoot “every cisgender person” in sight.

After being taken into custody, she claims the police took the email seriously despite it being “riddled with grammatical errors” and appearing more like “something a troll would say”. The email also stated her name, but referred to her as her “dead name” – the term for a transgender person’s birth name. She believes this was an attempt to make the police “humiliate” her.

Throughout the course of her “interrogation” by the police, Sorrenti said that the police referred to her as this dead name repeatedly, and when talking to her mother would refer to Sorrenti as her “son”.

“The fact that a fake email led to London police services booking me under my dead name reveals the prejudice that many police have towards transgender people,” Sorrenti said, before holding up a property bag clearly labelled “Roberts” which was her surname prior to legally changing it in 2012. Sorrenti took her mother’s maiden name upon changing it, meaning that her surname has not been Roberts in more than a decade.

Sorrenti then discussed a search warrant which she held in her hand, and stated that the police were looking for “a handgun, ammunition, cartridges, cleaning tools, a gun case, cellphones and computers.” She then revealed that electronics of hers were taken including both personal and work phones and the computer she uses to stream on her Twitch channel. Her fiancé’s phone, laptop and external hard drives were taken too.

Sorrenti claims that due to the “negligence” of the police, both her and her partner were left “functionally unemployed”, having to spend thousands to replace the seized electronics. The police released Sorrenti without charges, but without her devices she could not communicate the events to anyone close to her. She claims that some of her accounts are still inaccessible due to the police retaining the devices that receive her two-factor-authentication information.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to her either. Sorrenti goes on to detail an event from July 31 in Toronto, where someone impersonating her made threats to politicians. The Toronto police “chalked it up to a swatting attempt” and she was not charged nor named as a suspect in this investigation. Swatting is the act of executing a hoax emergency call or correspondence, usually with threats of extreme violence, with the intent to send the police or emergency services to an unsuspecting person’s address.

Swatting has become a problem for Twitch streamers as those responsible find pleasure in witnessing the events unfold live on stream. Streamer ImperialHal has been swatted three times whilst on air, with the most recent being just a few weeks ago (July 30). For Sorrenti, this wasn’t the reality, as they turned up whilst she was sleeping.

Credit: Clara Sorrenti

Sorrenti claims London police should have known that a swatting attempt was a possibility, as her brother phoned them in late March to see if her family could be put on a “no swatting” list, only to be treated as though they were “wearing tinfoil hats and dismissed”, Sorrenti said. According to her, the police told her brother things would be “fine”.

Despite the police executing the search warrant and finding nothing suspicious, as well as her mother being alive and well, Sorrenti says she is still a suspect in the investigation. Her devices are not being returned before they are examined by digital forensics, a process which she has been advised could take “months”.

“Because it was a crime that was motivated against transgender people, it was a hate crime perpetrated against me. Instead of helping me, the police terrorised me and my loved ones, traumatising me and leaving my fiancé and I on the verge of losing everything,” she says, “They victimised me for being the victim of a hate crime.”

Sorrenti then goes on to ask for help with a GoFundMe to move “immediately” as well as recoup her losses and “build a legal fund” to protect her rights after being subjected to “emotional damages, financial damages, blatant violations of the Human Rights Act and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression”. At time of writing, the fundraiser has reached £51,000 of a £57,000 goal.

There is no policy in Sorrenti’s city against swatting and she fears that this will happen again, and her “home is not safe”. She does not yet know when she will return to Twitch streaming as she feels traumatised, and wants to let people know what happened to her so she can begin to seek justice.

London Police Services’ chief Steve Williams has released a statement regarding her arrest, which importantly does not directly apologise to her for misgendering her and using her dead name. The statement claims that they “acknowledge the distress this has caused Ms. Sorrenti” and that they will be “reviewing the occurrence to understand how that might have happened.”

Despite being shaken up and traumatised, Sorrenti has said via Twitter that she has a message for her “haters”. “I’m not backing down. I know that the work I do is incredibly valuable, and thousands of trans people told me that,” she said. “I have people almost every day saying they came out to their families because of me.”

Finally, she said, “If they want me to stop, the next time they better manipulate the police into pulling the trigger.”

Swatting remains a serious issue for Twitch streamers – earlier in the month, professional Apex Legends player Phillip ‘ImperialHal’ Dosen was swatted for the third time.

Watch Louis Theroux, Amelia Dimoldenberg and Jason Derulo’s ‘Jiggle Jiggle’ video

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Amelia Dimoldenberg / Louis Theroux / Jason Derulo (Picture: Getty)

Louis Theroux, Amelia Dimoldenberg and Jason Derulo have teamed up for a new video for Theroux and Duke & Jones’ viral song ‘Jiggle Jiggle’ – you can watch the clip below.

The novelty track, which features audio of Theroux rapping on Dimoldenberg’s YouTube series Chicken Shop Date (in a callback to a moment from Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends), was recorded following the huge popularity of Duke & Jones’ original auto-tuned TikTok video, which has been viewed nearly 80million times.

Theroux has embraced the attention, telling The New York Times recently that “I sincerely hope we can all make some jiggle jiggle out of the phenomenon. Or maybe some fold. So far, it’s been more on the jiggle end.”

The documentary-maker has now starred in an official video for ‘Jiggle Jiggle’, which features new vocals from Derulo and a cameo from Dimoldenberg – you can watch the video below.

A new series fronted by Theroux, titled The Louis Theroux Interviews, is set to air on the BBC in the coming months, with his first guest set to be Stormzy.

The episode will see Theroux joining the rapper “on tour and at home for an in-depth and personally revealing encounter which will bring viewers up close to one of the biggest stars in the UK today”.

“I’m so excited to be embarking on this new series – something very different to the kind of TV I normally make,” Theroux said in a statement. “This will be a chance to meet and spend time with people I admire, getting to know them, having long form and revealing conversations, with honesty, emotion, and humour. To be kicking off with the genius that is Stormzy is proper pinch-me stuff. I can’t wait to get going.”

Lady Gaga hit in the face by Dr Simi doll thrown from the audience

Lady Gaga performing live on-stage at the 'Chromatica Ball' tour in 2022
Lady Gaga performs live. CREDIT: Getty

Lady Gaga was hit in the head by an object thrown by a crowdmember during a recent show in Canada.

The incident occurred while the pop star was playing at the Rogers Centre in Toronto last Saturday (August 6) as part of her current ‘Chromatica Ball’ tour.

Gaga was performing her recent Top Gun: Maverick track ‘Hold My Hand’ in the encore of the 22-song set when she was struck by what appeared to be some kind of stuffed toy. According to Stereogum, the item in question was a Dr Simi doll.

The outlet notes that Dr Simi is the mascot of the Mexican pharmacy chain Farmacias Similares, and said it’s become somewhat of a tradition to thrown the dolls at performers in Mexico.

Per the Huffington Post, the craze began during AURORA‘s gig at Corona Capital 2021 in Mexico. The doll has since been thrown at acts including The Killers, Coldplay and 5 Seconds Of Summer.

But that didn’t stop Gaga fans from condemning the act. “How do some fans think this is okay… this is so dangerous and sad,” one Twitter user captioned a video of the moment. Another said: “Please DO NOT throw items on stage at The Chromatica Ball.

“This not only is dangerous to Gaga, but items may also catch on fire in the jets as well and cause damage.”

A third person urged ‘Chromatica Ball’ attendees to “respect” the singer. “Do not throw things,” they added. “Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Do we really need to reiterate things we learnt as mere children? BE NICE.”

Perez Hilton, meanwhile, wrote: “Even soft items – don’t throw them!!”

During a show in Washington, D.C. on Monday (August 8), Gaga took a moment to express her continued support for abortion rights and gay marriage in the wake of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

In a five-star review of Lady Gaga’s recent ‘Chromatica Ball’ concert in London, NME said that the performance “underlines [Gaga’s] unique place in the pop pantheon: the missing link between showstopping ’80s icons like Madonna and Prince, and today’s more open and vulnerable superstars”.

The North American leg of the ‘Chromatica Ball’ tour resumes in East Rutherford, New Jersey tonight (August 11).

Red Velvet’s Joy and Choo Young-woo to lead new romance K-drama ‘Accidental Country Diary’

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L-R: Red Velvet's Joy, Choo Young-woo. Credit: KakaoTV

Red Velvet‘s Joy and actor Choo Young-woo have been cast as the leads for an upcoming romance K-drama, Accidental Country Diary (literal translation).

Joy and Choo’s casting in the new series, based on a web novel of the same name by Park Ha-min, was confirmed in May. According to Soompi, Accidental Country Diary depicts a romance between a man from Seoul and a policewoman from the countryside. The series, an original by KakaoTV, is set to premiere on the South Korean OTT streaming platform on September 5.

Joy will star as Ahn Ja-young, a reliable policewoman, while Choo will portray Han Ji-yool, a prickly man from Seoul who does everything by the book. A veterinarian who gives up his city job to be with his grandfather, he finds country life in Heedong Village to be more difficult than expected, though things change when he meets Ja-young.

On August 10, KakaoTV shared a first look at the new romance series through its first set of still images of Ji-yool going about his life in the quaint village. You can view Choo’s stills through Soompi here.

KakaoTV also shared images of Joy in the series as Ja-young to Twitter, as she goes about her day at work assisting various villagers.

In other news, Red Velvet’s SM Entertainment labelmates NCT 127 are currently preparing to release a new album next month, the company confirmed. It will mark the boyband’s first music since October 2021’s ‘Favorite’, which was a re-release of their third Korean-language studio album ‘Sticker’ from earlier that year.

‘Carter’ director explains Netflix film’s opening scene, a 20-minute fight shot in one take

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Joo Won in 'Carter'. Credit: Netflix

Carter director and writer Jung Byung-gil has shared how the format of a streaming release on Netflix influenced the movie’s striking opening scene.

The film, which premiered on August 5, begins with a 20-minute-long action sequence – shot in a single take – where the titular Agent Carter (Joo Won) gets into a bloody fistfight while nearly nude in the middle of a public bathhouse.

Jung told The Korea Times in a recent interview that the action-packed opening was not what was planned in the initial script, and was informed by the fact that the film was getting a release on a streaming platform. “The film’s initial script had a different opener. As ‘Carter’ is not a film for theatrical release, I wanted to capture the eyes of viewers with stronger visual images from the start,” Jung said.

“People would watch this show via smartphones or laptops. I wanted to give them a far more powerful impression from the beginning to stay tuned.”

Jung is well-known for his 2017 hit action film The Villainess, which featured a motorcycle fight scene in the start of the movie shot from a first-person point of view.

The ‘one-scene, one-cut film’ Carter, now available on Netflix, follows the titular Agent Carter, who awakens two months into a deadly pandemic originating from the DMZ that has devastated both the US and North Korea.

With no recollections of his past, he finds a mysterious device in his head and a lethal bomb in his mouth. A voice in his ears gives him his orders and he’s thrown into a mysterious operation with the CIA and North Korean coup hot on his heels.

In the same interview, Jung said that considerations that the film would be watched at home also led him to take extra care with its sound design. “Each viewer has different levels of speakers. Some watch content through TVs, smartphones or laptops. So I made the film able to be heard similarly on every occasion,” Jung told The Korea Times.

“If this film has audio for a theatre release, people would have had to control the volume scene after scene because it’s too loud for a laptop or a phone.”

A$AP Rocky to face lawsuit by A$AP Mob member over 2021 shooting

A$AP Rocky
A$AP Rocky. Credit: Michael Campanella/Redferns

A$AP Rocky (aka Rakim Mayers) will reportedly be sued by one of his former A$AP Mob teammates, A$AP Relli (real name Terell Ephron), after the latter claimed he was shot by Mayers last November.

The alleged shooting itself went unreported, however back in April, Mayers was arrested for the incident after being detained at Los Angeles International Airport. It was claimed at the time that he’d been under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, with the shooting said to have happened near Vista Del Mar and Selma Ave around 10:20pm on November 6.

Ephron had not been named as Mayers’ alleged shooting victim until now, with the former A$AP Mob member’s attorneys, Jamal Tooson and Brian Hurwitz, sharing a statement with Rolling Stone.

In it, they formally accuse Mayers of having lured Ephron to an “obscure” location in Hollywood “to discuss a disagreement between the two of them”, where “unbeknownst to Mr. Ephron, A$AP Rocky was not just planning for a conversation and came armed with a semi-automatic handgun”.

It’s alleged that when Ephron and Mayers met, they had a conversation “whereby without provocation, warning, or any justification, A$AP Rocky produced the handgun and intentionally fired multiple shots at Mr. Ephron”. The incident was said to be in eyeshot of nearby surveillance cameras, and resulted in Ephron suffering minor injuries to his left hand.

Furthermore, Tooson and Hurwitz said to Rolling Stone, Ephron has allegedly received “multiple death threats and irreparable harm to his career in the entertainment industry as a result of this incident”. Ephron currently works as a talent manager and producer, the publication reports, working with various entities in the fashion and jewellery industries.

Ephron’s attorneys noted that they expect their case to go to trial; Mayers has not been charged over the incident, but Rolling Stone reports that he’ll face a court over the case next Wednesday (August 17).

Mayers had been close with Ephron since high school. Though he never rapped for the A$AP Mob, Ephron was closely involved in its establishment – 2019 even saw Mayers credit Ephron for his introduction to the group, which was formed in 2006 by A$AP Yams, A$AP Bari, A$AP Illz and A$AP Kham.

NME has reached out to representatives of A$AP Rocky for comment.